Full disclosure: I am a hardcore Red Sox fan, and Curt Schilling was one of my favorite players…
That said, 38 Studios, creators of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning shut its doors and laid off all 300+ people on staff. A lot of press, particularly press from around the Boston area have been all over this story. Whether it was 75 million dollars in loan guarantees provided by the state of Rhode Island, or stories of relocated 38 Studios employees getting stuck with mortgages that they thought were paid off, it seems like a lot of good people have been hurt.
The thing I find particularly disgusting is that Schilling, himself, appeared to use some of that money provided by taxpayers to repay his own financial stake in the company. Schilling managed to pay himself back 4 million dollars. Considering they were only 1.1 million in arrears on their loan payments to Rhode Island, he had enough left over to keep the doors open at least for a little while longer. Combined with an estimated 60 million in revenue from sales of their single player game, that should have been more than enough operating capital to keep things running.
Here is the real punchline… Not only were 38 Studios employees notified of their terminations via email, but every man, woman, and child in Rhode Island is going to have to cough up 100 bucks to make up the shortfall in the state government’s treasury. Over 100 million dollars in loan guarantees and interest that the state now has to pick up.
To say that I was looking forward to Copernicus (The Kingdoms of Amalur-based MMO that 38 Studios had in development) is a mild understatement. I was writing about this game back in 2009. I’ve been trying to get Schilling to come to Dragon*Con for 5 years now. I was ecstatic when I learned that R.A. Salvatore, lead story writer for 38 Studios, would be coming to Dragon*Con AND doing a panel on Kingdoms of Amalur.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like any of that is going to happen now. I still look forward to meeting Mr. Salvatore, and I plan on making a t-shirt with the South Park characters on it that says “OH MY GOD! YOU KILLED CHEWIE! YOU BASTARD!” on it for him to sign at the convention. But I am pretty sure he’s not going to want to talk about Copernicus, and I don’t blame him. I don’t want to talk about it either. It’s a very disappointing tale.